Industry Veterans Share Their Proudest Achievements
In February's Verbatim column, we asked, "What one thing makes you most proud?"

In February's Verbatim column, we asked, "What one thing makes you most proud?"

This question holds promise to reveal a side of industry leaders that we may not know exists. Professional achievements are one respected measure of pride, and here we learn other aspects of their lives that help put life into perspective. These individuals offer their thoughts of what makes them most proud, either at or away from the office.

This column poses open-ended questions to a few of our colleagues. Adopted from a familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to reply via email. Their personal thoughts below are in response to the question posed above. These are their replies reported verbatim.


"My family makes me most proud. My family represents my whole life from the time Nancy and I met to our last grandchild. My family, and their families, is one of the accomplishments that will remain after my life on earth is finished. My family provides motivation to succeed in all my activities and to experience love, which really is the best guide in life."

Gary France
France Propane Service
Schofield, Wis.

"This is a tough one for me as I’m not very good at tooting my own horn. When I’m passionate about something, I’m not afraid of standing up for what’s right, fair, and just, but I guess my answer would have to be this…“ I’m still standing”! I know this has been a common lane for me in some of these answers but September 2010 changed and defined my life, my future. Jimmy, my late husband and the commander of this ship, passed away 10 years, three months, seven days, and 12 hours ago (not that I keep track) and I’m still here.

Literally knowing nothing about the propane industry, or running a business for that matter, I’m still standing. It’s been 10 years of learning all I can and putting an excellent support team in place. Going from just putting one foot in front of the other to being honored to serve on a couple of our industry boards. Moving from fear of running the business, wondering what will tomorrow bring, to a love for this industry and the people we serve. I’m proud of the person I have become, never thinking or believing I had this inner strength I have found. Today, I will tell you, I have been broken and blessed."

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas
Proctor, Vt.

"Independent, happy, compassionate children."

Laurie Irish-Jones
Irish Propane
Buffalo, N.Y.

"The one thing I am most proud of is my involvement in the propane industry. Through the years, I have volunteered with the Ohio Propane Gas Association, the Midwest Convention, the NPGF [National Propane Gas Foundation] Scholarship Committee, and Propane Days.

While the work for these various organizations has been very rewarding, I have received something even more valuable in return. We have made so many lifelong friendships with wonderful people all across the country in this industry. By taking the opportunity to get involved, I have gained far more than I have given."

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

"I am most proud of overcoming the adversity I faced in my young life. It was not easy to get over my childhood traumas, but I found the courage and tenacity to pursue my dreams. I studied hard, put myself through school, ran a marathon, started a business, and have a successful career and a loving family. It hasn’t always been easy, but I pushed through and stayed committed to my goals year after year. I’m proud to be at this point in my life and I realize every struggle I overcame just helped me get to a better version of myself. There’s no stopping now."

Hayley Karicofe
Churchville, Va.

"As we start 2021, I am proud of our success in 2020. At work we survived, we adjusted, we maintained our company culture, and we learned how to do our jobs differently and, in some instances, better than before. At home we survived, we adjusted, we taught three different grades, and had a new baby, we made so many meals and did more dishes and laundry than I thought possible.

Our kids started and stopped and started again and stopped again all the things they love most; they figured out new ways to participate in school and extracurricular activities. I am proudest of how everyone stuck together as a team and continued to adapt to the constant challenges we have and continue to face."

Lauren Clark
Bergquist Inc.
Toledo, Ohio

"I am extremely proud of my family. From my children, to my wife, to my parents, and to my extended family, everyone is loving, thoughtful, helpful, and responsible. We aren’t perfect, but we love each other and that is what really matters."

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kan.


We all have reasons to be proud of something in our lives—overcoming struggles, personal or professional achievements, areas of reflection that allow us to appreciate who we are as individuals. To underscore this subject, I offer this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”


Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She serves as a director at Cetane Associates. Readers may contact her at


Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She serves as a director at Cetane Associates. Readers may contact her at


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